NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 18, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool fans lament “most important” absence despite the “clear flaws”

Aptly described as an agent of chaos, there was none of that on show at Crystal Palace in the absence of Darwin Nunez, a player whose importance to the side has grown significantly.

The Uruguayan missed out on the trip to Selhurst Park completely thanks to the effects of the shoulder injury he sustained in the victory at Newcastle.

Jurgen Klopp revealed he needed an injection to feature against Real Madrid in midweek but after another knock in that game “he couldn’t move the arm at all.”

Diogo Jota started in his place alongside Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo, the trio combined for two shots on target on a night lacking any creativity.

Nunez is Liverpool’s second-highest goalscorer this season with 12 goals and while he’s prone to missing the target too, his movement and chaos injects energy, entertainment and danger.

He’s far from the finished article but for many at this moment in time, he’s proven to be one of Liverpool’s most important players, a tag that contradicts the outside criticism.

And after the drab affair at Palace, Liverpool showed just how much they miss Nunez when he’s not on the pitch:

Alisson will take some beating to the tag of Liverpool’s most important player across the season but without Nunez, Klopp’s side do lack any unpredictability or spark in the forward third.

At Palace, they could have played another full 90 minutes without getting on the scoreboard and while Nunez has missed clear-cut chances with regularity, he at least offers threat and entertainment.

With four days between games, the hope will be that Nunez’s shoulder injury does not keep him out of Wolves‘ visit on Wednesday.